Saturday 25 September 2021 9:26 am

Paris' Gare du Nord station transformation scrapped ahead of Rugby World Cup

A project to transform Paris’ Gare du Nord railway station in the run up to the 2023 Rugby World Cup has been shelved.

France’s national rail operator SNCF decided to scrap the plan after it was revealed the large project was behind schedule and would not be finished in time for the World Cup in 2023, or the Paris Olympics in 2024.

The project, which would have tripled the size of one of Europe’s busiest stations, also sent costs spiralling.

Ceetrus, the main contractor of the initial project, had warned in July that the final bill was likely to triple from the first estimate of €500m, or around £427m – around £1.2bn.

Around 18,500 square metres of shops, 13,500 square metres of restaurants and 11,400 square metre roof garden were some to be some of the new additions to the station under the project.

The project would have also forced Gare du Nord, which offers routes from across Europe including London, to cancel a quarter of the 2,200 trains that fly through the station daily in 2023 and 2024.

However, SNCF has now launched a ‘Plan B’, which should see a much smaller transformation that can be completed before the Rugby games.

“We asked the SNCF to prepare a much smaller project, of around €50m, to make adjustments and meet the challenges of 2023 and 2024,” said French transport minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, according to local newspaper L’Equipe.